Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management (SMFM)

The SMFM project set out to improve global knowledge and capabilities for forest degradation assessment and monitoring dry forest landscapes by building upon and complimenting existing international programs. The SMFM project supported selected countries to develop their Earth Observation (EO) capacity. It developed and test new and/or improved methods to process and analyse new satellite EO datasets, with assessments of EO processing methods completed through practical implementation in selected Partner Countries.


The Project Development Objective (PDO) was to - "Improved methods for satellite monitoring of tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment are available to countries, with technical knowledge and capacity developed for global application in sustainable forest management, including REDD+."

About SMFM

The World Bank developed the Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management (SMFM) project to develop satellite Earth Observation (EO) methods and global knowledge to address challenges related to monitoring tropical dry forest ecosystems and forest degradation assessment. The World Bank is the implementing and executing agency for the SMFM project and has contracted LTS International to carry out its implementation alongside the University of Edinburgh. European Space Agency (ESA) acted as a key project partner and technical adviser, providing in-kind support in the form of data, tools, and technical knowledge.

The World Bank has organised and contracted the following external project execution support from international institutions & technical consulting groups, with expertise in satellite EO and forestry research and applications, to complete the project:

Development of Forest and Degradation Monitoring Tool

The SMFM team has been designing new and enhanced satellite EO methods to address the requirements and gaps in capabilities defined with methods that take advantage of the new technical capabilities provided by the ESA Sentinel satellites, in compliment with other EO data sets. 


Country implementation (preparation of map products) will be done in three countries: Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia, with the project work being conducted by national agencies in each country through separate arrangements with the World Bank.

Dry forest methodological challenges to be addressed by the SMFM project include:

  • Integration of EO data with field based inventory

  • Vegetation seasonality and cloud cover

  • Vegetation density for class boundaries and class-to-class transition

  • Forest canopy closure

  • Mixed land cover and land use classes

Forest degradation methodological challenges to be addressed by the SMFM project include:

  • Observing cumulative effect over time;

  • Discriminating individual “disturbance” events that may be part of comprehensive sustainable forest management (SFM) (i.e. harvested plot within a rotational management) from disturbance that is the result of a progressive processes of degradation; 

  • Indirect approaches and proxies to estimate forest degradation.  

Tool 2: Above-Ground Biomass Estimation

Tool 1 a&b: Land Cover/Use Mapping

Tool 3: Deforestation & Degradation Mapping

Further Detail of SMFM Mapping Tools Below:


SMFM Partner Countries:

Tool 4: Degradation & Deforestation Type Mapping

Project Outcomes:


  1. New satellite EO methods developed for monitoring tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment.

  2. Dry forest and forest degradation map products for sub-national areas, suitable for forest monitoring and management & planning purposes.

  3. Improved national technical capacity for monitoring of tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment through training in new satellite EO methods and data.

  4. Improved global knowledge of new satellite EO methods and analysis through capacity building and South-South Knowledge Exchange (SSKE) programmes.

South-South Knowledge Exchange

Countries with recently developed national forest monitoring systems will share their knowledge and lessons-learned as an important part of the project’s capacity building work.



Latest Updates:

Progress Update August 2018

September 05, 2018

Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management (SMFM) Project Project Reference no: 1231131

Monthly progress summary: August 2018

Project month no: 21

Submitted by: LTS international

Date: 06.09.2018

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